Before: Built in the 1850s, the Great Shiplock is the eastern-most lock of the historic James River and Kanawha Canal locks, which were first mapped out by George Washington. In 2012, the park, which is located in Shockoe Bottom at Dock and Pear Streets, was severely neglected, with tree roots choked by weeds and concrete.

After: The project began when the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation asked Capital Trees to landscape a kiosk in the park that now serves as the Capital Trail’s western trailhead. What started as a modest invitation soon grew into an extraordinary collaboration that would transform a neglected historic site into a beautiful riverfront park. Working in partnership with the City of Richmond, corporate citizens, private foundations, local landscape architects, designers, engineers, non-profit organizations and individuals, Capital Trees added more than 1,300 trees and plants, introduced educational signage, and installed rain gardens and bio-filtration. Expansive gardens and storm water amenities have taken root, creating a green gateway to historic Chapel Island. The site is not only more beautiful, but also kinder to the sensitive James River environment.

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Location

Great Shiplock Park is a City of Richmond park at the eastern end of the James River and Kanawha Canal system. Located at Pear and Dock Streets, the park serves as the western trailhead of the Virginia Capital Trail. Parking is available.